Friday, January 09, 2009

70 year old grandma imprisoned for selling illegal lead-tainted baby sweaters

"We interrupt this program for an urgent announcement..."

For the last several weeks I have been showcasing eBay selling as a way to make money from home, as it has been for me for the last ten years.

Imagine my horror when I learned of new legislation that could trash your new eBay career before it even begins!

And mine.

On Feb. 10, parts of the Consumer Protection Safety Information Act are set to take effect. The law, which was passed without fanfare during the summer as a response to the flood of products recalled for unsafe lead levels at that time, requires stringent lead testing for all products sold to children 12 and younger. The standards also require testing for toxins found in some plastics. For clothing items, the problem might be buttons, snaps, zippers or other fasteners.

Did you catch the "ALL" in "all products?"

At least for now, that includes one of a kind wooden toys produced by crafters worldwide, those cute little baby booties your mother-in-law makes when someone has a new baby, the gently used children's clothes you were planning to try to sell over at the consignment shop, and any other kind of new or used product aimed at children sold on eBay, Craigslist,, and countless numbers of free classified ads in newspapers and newsletters and bartering clubs nationwide.

Did I mention the thrift shops who are the beneficiaries of your donated toys and clothing to Vietnam Veterans of America or other charitable groups?

At a time when downsized and desperate American families are flocking to thrift stores and consignment stores to save money, and attempting to sell prized collections to make money, it is incredible that in a matter of a month, your daughter's prized collection of "new-in-box" Barbies that you were expecting to liquidate towards her college tuition will be worthless fodder for the landfill.

According to KVUE-TV in Austin, TX. Adding to the confusion and frustration is the fact that the U.S. Consumer Products and Safety Commission is not returning calls or e-mails to the countless re-salers and even journalists who have tried in vain to get clarification on what the law means to garage sales and how it will be enforced.

Here are some other articles that will give you more information about the ramifications of this law, from -
St. Louis Today
Cool Mom Picks Transformer's Resource
KVUE-TV Austin, TX
LA Times
Moms in the Right

The LA Times article notes, "Many retailers and thrift stores appear to be unaware that the law is changing. Of half a dozen Southern California children's thrift stores contacted by The Times, only one had heard of the law. Organizations such as Goodwill say they're still investigating how the law will affect them because there is so much confusion about what will be banned."

It is important for us to contact our lawmakers and the minions at the Consumer Protection Agency while there is still time to comment and get some straight answers about the scope of this law.

UPDATE: Good News for Thrift Stores!

The Consumer Product Safety Commission released a statement today which said, "Sellers of used children’s products, such as thrift stores and consignment stores, are not required to certify that those products meet the new lead limits, phthalates standard or new toy standards."

eBay stores, however are NOT out of the woods. World Net Daily reports:

The act's broad wording could extend to new children's items sold on eBay, Craig's List, Amazon. Critics also say landfills will be hit hard if stores, distributors and families simply throw their untested items away rather than face prosecution. And clothing, toys, furniture and books at large retailers could become more expensive to cover third-party testing costs.

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